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Padres 8, Mets 0

August 19, 1996 GMT

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) _ An hour and a half before game time, Ken Caminiti was laid out in a back room of San Diego’s clubhouse, with a needle in his arm and an IV bag hanging from a clothes hanger.

``I just figured, `He isn’t going to play today,′ ″ said Padres teammate Tony Gwynn.

Wrong. Caminiti has amazed fans with his bat and his glove, and on Sunday he one-upped even himself with a display of sheer willpower. After receiving two liters of IV fluid, he hit two home runs to lead the San Diego Padres to an 8-0 win over the New York Mets in the finale of baseball’s three-game Mexican fiesta.

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``I’ll be all right,″ Caminiti said.

He needed another liter of IV fluid after the game. Although he seemed woozy, he signed autographs for several Mexican fans before getting on the team bus to the airport.

``I’ve never been around anyone any tougher,″ manager Bruce Bochy said. ``He played on pure guts.″

Caminiti said he didn’t sleep at all Saturday night due to an upset stomach he figures were brought on by a number of factors _ the food, the intense heat and maybe the water.

``All I know is I felt pretty bad,″ said Caminiti, a Gold Glove third baseman who matched his career-best of 26 homers. ``I came to the park and they told me I looked pretty bad. They put an IV in me and they said I’d be ready by game time and it was 4:05 by the time I got my uniform on. So I went out there and ran two sprints and played the game.″

It turned out he needed more than IV to get him through. Craving a Snickers bar, he yelled from third base for his teammates to get him one.

``... I just chowed it down and hit a home run,″ he said.

Caminiti’s teammates noticed how relaxed he looked at the plate.

``I don’t know what happened,″ Caminiti said. ``Actually, I don’t think I even touched the ball.″

Said Gwynn: ``We all started screaming for IVs and Snickers after that.″

Caminiti hit a solo homer to left-center leading off the second inning, then a three-run shot to right-center with two out in the third, both off Paul Wilson (4-9). He left the game after striking out in the fifth.

``Things worked out today,″ he said. ``I wouldn’t want to try to do that every day.″

Caminiti has played through shoulder pain all year. When asked what it would take to keep him on the bench, he said: ``I’ve got to be broke.″

``He turned around very quickly,″ said Dr. Gaston Molina. ``He’s a healthy young adult athlete who can handle these things.″

Mets catcher Todd Hundley wasn’t as lucky as Caminiti, missing the start after coming down with a case of food poisoning. Hundley thought he got ill from a steak he ate at the hotel housing both the Mets and the Padres. Brent Mayne started in his place.

Major league baseball’s first regular-season foray into Mexico ended with the Padres taking two of three in their ``home″ series some 1,000 miles from San Diego.

Pitcher Joey Hamilton had his first career homer, and Brian Johnson also connected.

The Padres hit eight homers and the Mets one in the bandbox stadium, which plays shorter than its listed dimensions.

Hamilton drove a 0-2 pitch from Wilson deep into the left-field bleachers with two out in the fourth for a 5-0 lead. It was Hamilton’s 118th career at-bat.

Hamilton (11-7) threw seven shutout innings to win for the first time since July 3, a span of eight starts in which he went 0-3. Hamilton allowed six hits and matched his career high with 10 strikeouts.

The game drew 22,810 to the 25,644-seat stadium, for a three-game total of 67,382.

The three-game series was moved here largely because the Republican Party asked several months ago for the option to use Jack Murphy Stadium for the final night of its national convention. That didn’t come about, but the NFL’s Chargers played an exhibition game Saturday night and the Padres didn’t want to schedule a doubleheader.

Notes: Fans at Estadio Monterrey can buy lottery tickets from vendors working the aisles. They can also buy a shot of tequila for the equivalent of $1.33, a shot of scotch for $2.66 or a beer for about $1.40 at concession stands. ... The public address system plays harp music after each strikeout. ... New dad and Padres closer Trevor Hoffman arrived in Monterrey about 1 1/2 hours before game time and pitched the ninth. His wife, Tracy, gave birth to the couple’s first child, son Brody, Friday night in San Diego.